Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Shopping Lessons

Motorcycle helmets are not masks.

Masks go OVER the nose. Always.

If you can't talk on your phone with a mask on, go outside to talk on your phone. Consider texting only.

Be aware of the queue. Don't jump ahead to a cashier.

Have a list and a plan.

Get extras.

Be fully present and grateful to all staff.

Be quick.

I encountered all of the top four entries on my list today. American Exceptionalism and capitalism have failed.

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Anger / Depression

When I realize I’m beating myself up I’m trying to pause and acknowledge my anger. Not validate that I’m being hard on myself, unreasonable, but that I’m experiencing anger.

I acknowledge there’s so much to be angry about right now, how helpless I feel, and how ineffectual my efforts seem. I remind myself that directing the anger inward doesn’t resolve it.

I’m trying to learn to integrate my anger. What a hard lesson this is for someone who was forbidden from showing anger.

Today I'm especially grateful for the surprise of art in the mail from a beloved friend. It helped a lot with today's anger. I'm inspired to send out mail tomorrow.


Anger Turned Inward

Today I taught my second Yoga of Freedom online classes and it went very well. I focused on there later John Lewis legacy and the moral obligation to speak up, to stand up.

For the rest of the day I was in a gray depression feeling like I'd done nothing right.

It isn't true. My art page for today even captures things I did in addition to teaching a difficult class. It's just how I feel.

In reality I'm angry about Federal cops in Portland. I'm angry about my racist family, not that there's anything to do about it besides process it. I'm angry people continue to politicize masks.

All that anger doesn't have anywhere to go, this is most likely the cause of today's blues.


Lies from Invaders

The head of the Department of Homeland Security arrived uninvited in my city today. He says my city is under siege from anarchists.

He lies.

Local police continue to lie.

Federal cops are grabbing protestors off the street.

I’m so angry. I’m so afraid for my city. I the police defunded and demilitarized. I want the Feds out.

COVID dog checkup today. Sitting out in the car, waiting to hear.

How are people without cars supposed to do this?

The dogs are in excellent health. Bertie is an especially healthy English Bulldog, a poster dog. He let me stick borage flowers on his face. I’m so grateful.


Police vs. Portland

Our local cops gave a no-confidence in the City commissioners, saying, "Someone had to protect Portland."

We have federal cops launching tear gas and non-lethal (less lethal?) at protestors and arresting both protestors and journalists.

We keep telling the police what we want and all they do is escalate. Now with the support of the feds. I'm sickened.

I had a wave of shakes and a little nausea earlier, soon after looking at photos and video is my beloved city and the protestors standing up the cops. My hands shook so much, I felt shaky all over, and I ended up laying on the sofa for a few minutes with the dogs.

Trauma news on top of take-away sushi and tempura was a little rich and intense for my system.

Our Bee Balm is pretty glorious right now. I'm grateful.


Anger and Shame

Today we had a surreal experience. Our doctor drew blood from each of us from the car, with our arm stuck out the window.

A whole bunch of tests for CK and a more extensive lipids panel for me since my cholesterol was a little high this past winter.

I'm trying hard not to obsess over it.

On the drive home I told CK about getting stuck in my anger at my peer. She's had her own "nemesis" experiences, so she really gets it.

When I shared how I'm feeling a lot of shame because it's anger about yoga stuff, she said the best thing.

"Never be ashamed of your anger!"

I was floored and got all weepy and needed hugs.

My session this week looked at how I learned very quickly to compartmentalize unacceptable emotions. Anger was near the to of the list of emotions I was forbidden from expressing. When I feel angry, I always feel shame.

She then suggested I have a more restful day, that it was OK to rest today and play video games even if I want to do that tomorrow too.


Integrity Between Peers

I have a peer I've struggled with for five years. We're very close in age and level of training, they've taken more than I have at this point.

They never can wholeheartedly compliment accomplishments of mine. I've introduced them to a professional marketing group that's running an online yoga therapy conference. I submitted two talks, versions of the ones I was accepted to give at two different conferences that were to have happened this year.

I haven't been accepted, but my peer apparently has and it's really irritating me. I introduced her to this and the idea of giving these tasks. I'm having a hard time letting it go.

It feels so unfair because I recently had my last conversation with them where I gently corrected some problematic language they used around race. They responded with a social media post that misrepresents our conversation in a way to bolster their problematic language use and gather in sympathy.

I feel like this person has no integrity and they're gaslighting me with their post. It leaves me feeling livid. For them to succeed at something I was trying to do myself, and I failed, feels unjust.

Which is why I have insomnia tonight.

Well, all that and I feel ashamed of feeling this way. I feel like I'm not doing my yoga to be so angry at this person I seeing as having bad integrity getting chosen over me. It makes me feel selfish and petty.

I've been punished on multiple occasions for my "competitiveness", and this feels like the same energy. If I can't let go of this I'm a problem.

At therapy I said I was going to try and keep in mind times when it feels like I'm not fitting in. This feels like that to since I've tried for years with this peer to have a mutually supportive connection. Times like this I tend to feel like I'm the bad one.

In reality, times when I don't fit in have been times when when the group (e.g., my family) or the person, is toxic.

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Eddies of Rage

I felt pretty good at the end of therapy today and physically even better after soaking in a floatation tank right afterwards. I am so grateful to find out that the float center had opened up. I'm treating myself to one after therapy for the next few sessions. My body had been hurting so much.

CK and I had minor conflict around dinner, exacerbated by the world at large. It left me feeling like such a failure.

I never ended up eating dinner. My stomach is still upset. I had some digestive biscuits which seem to will better for me these days than saltines.

So often on therapy I'm dealing with the fallout of being considered too emotional, too wierd, too much. Anger was a forbidden emotion. I found ways to express it by physically separating myself from them, but I never integrated it. My brain wasn't capable of integration, compartmentalizing was the best it could do.

I likened trauma therapy to pulling out all these pressure-sealed compartments and breaking them open in a controlled way. They're potentially explosive, so going into them can feel like being blown back or caught up in the swirling eddies of rage that were once locked up tight by my child self.


Celebrate What

I had naively hoped there would be a ban on fireworks sales this year. We're still in a pandemic, it isn't getting better, and we should still be physically distancing. Cops are still killing Black people. Cops in Oregon are swearing about the Governor and defying her order to wear a mask indoors.

American individualism and exceptionalism is a failed model.

Society needs people to want to do things for the good of the collective, but we've got a country filled with selfish individuals.

Fireworks were being shot off in the neighborhood tonight. This year it is making me angrier than ever before.

What the fuck is there to celebrate in 2020?

What's worse. People aren't doing it to celebrate anything. They're doing it because they're bored and they find it find to maker loud explosions that upset all the animals and humans sensitive to sudden noise. It's just gross.

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Month Three

Today marks three months without seeing friends or students, without coffee shops or eating out in any way.

I was unfriended by a toxic yoga teacher I didn't personally know for telling her that her anti-mask stance was a problem and she needed to do better to live her yoga. I'd told her I'd share a study with her today as to why masks are helpful but discovered that she's gone and with her all the notifications from her buddies piling on me.

I shared it anyway because it's important.

I'm tired of this year. I'm tired of selfish people. I'm tired of white fragility. I'm especially tired of yoga people who are doing the work of upholding injustice.

I'm tired of making myself smaller. I'm tired of speaking gently and softly. I'm tired of trying to fit in. I'm tired of thinking it's something I'm doing wrong.